It’s been years since they were all together for more than a holiday gathering, and more than twenty years since they were in this place—mountain lake, paddleboats, hikes with bagged lunches. When Vera made the reservation, she told Glen that she had only one reason in mind, a gathering of their children—because it all goes too fast, she said—and now they are all there, arriving from their various adult lives and sliding right back into their childhood roles. William, the oldest, with his new wife, Maura, and her son, Eli; Suzanne (the one they had always thought would divorce) and her husband, Pete, with their toddler twins, Dakota and Jackie, who are only silent when deep in sleep; and last but never least, Rosie, the baby, and Derek, who she’s madly in love with, perhaps the last in a long string of prospects that Glen said made him feel like he needed to hide his wallet; Rosie’s son, Tad, is seven and ready to record and repeat anything said. Glen called him TeleTad, and though they both felt guilty, they had done nothing to stop him the day he talked about visiting his daddy—Rosie’s ex—who had become a preacher of liberty steaks (what the hell? Glen asked) and wore a bathrobe like Jesus. “Wow,” Vera said, “what does all that mean exactly, honey?” and he shrugged and went back to unscrewing every Oreo in the bag.

People on couch
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